Thanks to my friend Blaine Gibbs for sending the following excerpt from an opinion piece on the recent London riots by Brendan O’Neill, reportedly of the leftist persuasion, in The Australian:
What we have on the streets of London and elsewhere are welfare state mobs. The youth who are shattering their own communities represent a generation that has been suckled by the state more than any generation before it. They live in urban territories where the sharp-elbowed intrusion of the welfare state during the past thirty years has pushed aside older ideals of self-reliance and community spirit. The march of the welfare state into every aspect of urban, less well off people’s existences, from their financial well being to their child-rearing habits and even into their emotional lives, with the rise of therapeutic welfarism designed to ensure that the poor remain “mentally fit”, has undermined individual resourcefulness and social bonding. The antisocial youthful rioters are the end product of this antisocial system of state intervention.
Some have disputed the notion that this entitlement mentality and its resulting dependency and resentment are the principal causes of these outbreaks in London and Philadelphia and other cities, blaming pure thuggery instead. But where do we draw the line between them? As a point in fact, we have witnessed a consistent message of grievance from all of our elites over the past forty years that the socio-economic losers of the world are victims of oppression and racism, and we have spent trillions in attempting to close the gaps, only to build more dependency and resentment and, yes, thuggery.
Yet in a significant sense, the young people in the streets are victims, as explained by London Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “They are the victims of the tsunami of wishful thinking that washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality, and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.”
In other words, they are victims of the great 20th century experiment in liberalism that has failed so miserably. To repeat myself, why can’t we see that our current financial predicament and other civic maladies are not the causes of our decline, but rather symptoms of a deteriorating moral order that has undermined the character of our people?